Financial preparedness is a key component of military readiness. Whether on-base or deployed overseas, it is crucial that military personnel have access to financial education information that will enable them to make prudent saving and investing decisions for themselves and their families.
There are thousands of service members who report having problems paying bills and struggle to make ends meet; studies show that a lack of understanding of personal finances and poor management practices contribute to the difficulties. In addition, serious financial problems can have a negative impact on service members' careers, potentially resulting in the loss of security clearance, criminal or non-judicial sanction, or adverse personnel actions, including possible discharge from the military.
A lack of financial knowledge also leaves military personnel susceptible to financial problems. In December 2004, First Command Financial Planning, Inc. was fined $12 million for making misleading statements in the sales of systematic investment plans to military personnel. More than $5 million has been returned in the form of restitution to investors. With the remaining funds, the NASD Investor Education Foundation—now the FINRA Investor Education Foundation—developed SaveAndInvest.org—a financial education program to improve the saving and investing knowledge of military service members to give them the tools and information they need to make critical saving and investing decisions with confidence